William
Parke


 

WILLIAM PARKE had a career in show business that spanned at least six decades. He was born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on June 18, 1873 to Anthony Parke and his wife, the former Mary Hallman. Prior to 1895 no records regarding him have been found, but he does appear in that year's Camden City Directory at 1112 Locust Street, and his occupation was listed as actor. From 1895 through 1898 he was a member of George Holland's stock company, which put on plays at the Girard Avenue Theater in Philadelphia. In time he became the assistant stage manager for the Holland Stock Company. 

William Parke married Julia Peacock, the daughter of Camden restaurant owner George Washington Peacock on June 27, 1896 at Bethany Methodist Church in Camden. Julia Peacock bore two sons, William Parke Jr. in 1897 and George Washington Parke in 1898. The family is listed at 316 Clinton Street in 1897 and 45 Cooper Street in 1898. 

In 1899 William Parke went to New York City, where he staged a revival of The Sporting Duchess and took the production on tour. Parke's production played in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania in October of 1899, in Dallas in November and in Evansville, Indiana in December, and possibly also appeared in Salt Lake City and other western cities.

The 1900 Census shows the Parke family at 231 North Front Street. Around this time William Parke began to work even further away from Camden. In the March of that year he went to Denver, Colorado with a newly organized theater troupe known as The Western Amusement Company. William Parke did double duty in the show as an actor and as assistant stage manager to Harry Saint Maur, well known as an actor, playwright, and author, and remained in Denver until at least September of 1900. William Parke would go on to directing and producing plays and in time movies, with occasional roles as an actor on stage, film, and on Broadway.

In 1900 Parke joined Shakespearean actor E.H. Sothern's company as advance stage manager for a road tour of Hamlet. For several years, Sothern dreamed of mounting a spectacular and precise production of Hamlet. He finally opened the play in New York in 1900, but during the first week, he was stabbed in the foot by Laertes' sword and was stricken with blood poisoning, closing the production. After he recovered, he revived the piece on tour, but the sets and costumes were destroyed by a fire in Cincinnati, Ohio. 1n 1901, he played the title role in Richard Lovelace and then François Villon in If I Were King. It was in this production where William Parke made his debut on Broadway. He also had a role in The Proud Prince at the Lyceum Theatre, New York City. He later worked with E.H. Sothern on a road production of The Proud Prince. 

The 1901 City Directory shows the William Parke family at 214 Ambler Street. The family never did live very far from Julia Parke's parents, whose home and business was at 60 Delaware Avenue. The Parkes are listed at 215 Stevens Street in 1902 and 1903. By the time the 1904 Directory was compiled, they had moved to 306 Cole Street

By 1902 William Parke was no longer the assistant, he was the stage manager for large productions in major cities. In 1903 he was again working for E.H. Sothern on The Proud Prince, which required casting 100 extras for a mob scene on stage. The show played in Baltimore in late November, 1903.

In 1904 William Parke became a member of The Players, a social club founded by the great stage actor Edwin Booth, considered by many to be America's greatest 19th Century actor, whose achievements unfortunately are over shadowed by the single deed of his brother, John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln in 1865. William Parke remained an active member of the club until his passing in 1941. 

Subsequently William Parke was hired as stage manager Richard Mansfield's company, and appeared as an actor in productions of Beau Brummell and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a role that Mansfield had originated. He was stage manager for Mansfield's production of Henrik Ibsen's Peer Gynt, which was the first U.S. production of this play. It opened at the Chicago Grand Opera House on October 24, 1906, and toured the entire nation. 

Richard Mansfield's popularity as a Shakespearean actor was immense. At the time of his death, The New York Times stated: "As an interpreter of Shakespeare, he had no living equal in his later days, as witnessed by the princely grace, the tragic force of his Richard, his thrilling acting in the tent scene of "Caesar", the soldierly dignity and eloquence of his Prince Hal, and the pathos of the prayer in that play. He was the greatest actor of his hour, and one of the greatest of all times." Mansfield died in New London, Connecticut, on August 30, 1907 at age 50, from liver cancer.

1906 is the last year William Parke is listed in Camden City Directories. It can be assumed that being away from home for months at a time did the marriage no good, and, as Julia Parke, beginning in 1908 referred to herself as a widow in city directories and census enumerations, that the divorce was acrimonious. During the 1910s William Parke Jr. joined his father and began a career as an actor, while younger son George W. Parke remained in Camden for pretty much the rest of his life.

After Mansfield's company had disbanded, William Parke joined Arnold Daly, who had founded "The Theatre of Ideas" at the Berkley Lyceum which presented three one-act plays each night. He worked with Daly in the capacity of stage manager and also as an actor in several one-act plays. Daly disbanded his troupe late in 1907.

In 1908 William Parke began working as the stage manager for the stock company of John Craig and Mary Young at the Castle Square Theater in Boston. On November 16, 1908 he married actress Alice Harrington, a Massachusetts native, who bore him a son, Richard Harrington Parke, on March 21,1909. The 1910 Census, taken April 26, shows William, Alice and Richard at 5 Durham Street in Boston, with a nurse, a cook, and a few lodgers. 

During the summers, when the Castle Square troupe was not working, William Parke had his own company in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. In 1912 William Parke's stock company included Edith Luckett, who in 1921, had a daughter Anne, nicknamed "Nancy", by her first husband, car salesman Kenneth Robbins. The couple separated in 1923 and divorced in 1928. Edith Luckett later married married Chicago businessman Loyal Davis, who adopted her daughter, whose name became Nancy Davis. Following her mother into acting, Nancy Davis made a number of movies, but is best remembered for marrying an actor by the name of Ronald Reagan, and I am sure you know the rest of that story!

Wallace Worsley Jr., in a communication to author Q. David Bowers, noted: "William Parke was a partner with my father in a summer stock company for two or three seasons, circa 1911-1915, at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. My mother [Julia Taylor, who also acted in Thanhouser films] played most of the leading parts in their programs. I remember that at three years of age I was greatly impressed with the storm at sea in East Lynne - especially the lightning, waves (billowing canvas), and the thunder (probably cymbals clashing).".

William Parke disbanded his summer stock company in July of 1913 and went to New York where he directed the rehearsals of seven road companies of Potash and Perlmutter and was also with the same production at the Cohan Theatre in New York City. 

The 1915 New York State Census shows William Parke, wife Alice, and son Richard H. Parke living in New York City. His occupation was listed as Stage Director. Before the year was out he would transition to movie director. By November his oldest son, William Parke Jr., was working in Massachusetts as a stage actor.

In 1916 William Parke began directing movies for the Thanhouser Film Corporation, which was based in New Rochelle, New York. After making two shorts, Parke directed his first full-length film for Thanhouser, Other People's Money, which featured Gladys Hulette, not twenty years old and already a screen veteran, having made dozens of shorts beginning in 1908. Parke and Hulette went on to make nine films together. William Parke Jr. had also come to work  Thanhouser as an actor and he and Gladys married on August 21, 1917.

William Parke next went to work for Astra Film Corporation where he made nine movies. In 1918 he completed a film whose working title was The Romance of Coal, which was due to be released in late 1918. Due to the influenza pandemic that killed millions worldwide, the film like many others was held back from theaters. Renamed Key To Power, it was released in January of 1920. This film is believed to be the first major studio production to be filmed on location in West Virginia. After the completion of this film, William Parke and family went to California. 

The January 1920 Census shows William Parke Jr. and Gladys Hulette Parke living in New Rochelle, New York. The 1920 Motion Picture Studio Directory gives William and Alice Parke's address as 1815 LaBrea Avenue, Hollywood, California. William Parke's next film was for the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation. The Paliser Case was released on February 15, 1920. By May of 1921 he had completed three other pictures. He went to work for Carl Laemmle's Univeral Studios n 1923 where he completed three films including Legally Dead, something of a precursor to Laemmle's 1931 Frankenstein in that it had to do with bringing the dead back to life.

William Parke apparetly did not care too much for California, and after completing a ten-part serial, Ten Scars Make A Man, he returned to New York. He invented a safety oven rack, patented it, and spent much of the next fifteen years promoting it. A business, William Parke Inc. was organized in 1928 with a factory on Camden, New Jersey devoted to its manufacture. At the same time he kept in touch with the stage and was said to have been an almost daily visitor to The Players social club in New York City, of which he had been a member since 1904. He also appeared on occasion on stage, and is known to have five appearances on Broadway after his return from the West Coast.

The 1930 Census shows William Parke with his wife Alice in an apartment at 29 Perry Street, New York City, New York, in the same building as as New York Herald-Tribune reporter Beverly Smith. Next door at 33 Perry Street was the author Rex Stout, who in 1934 published the first of 33 mystery novels and 39 short stories with his character Nero Wolfe. The Nero Wolfe character has appeared in two Hollywood movies, six American television series, and as of this writing four international television series, two of them in Italy, the others in Germany and Russia. Son William Parke Jr., divorced since 1925 from Gladys Hulette, was living in New York and working as an actor. Son H. Richard Parke had married and was also living in New York, and was employed as a reporter by the New York Times. George W. Parke had remained in Camden. By 1930 he, is wife, the former Elsie Atkinson, and daughter Mary Jane "Mollie" Parke lived at 3184 Westfield Avenue. They later moved to 3192 Westfield Avenue, where they were listed at that address in New Jersey Bell Telephone Directories as late as 1970.

William Parke, a trouper to the end, went out on top, as a member of the original cast of the Broadway hit show, Arsenic and Old Lace, which opened on January of 1941. He created the role of Mr. Witherspoon, which, when the movie was made several years later, was played by Edward Everett Horton. After the Saturday night showing of Arsenic and Old Lace on July 27, 1941, William Parke returned to his apartment, where died of a heart attack the following day.

Aside from Arsenic and Old Lace, William Parke's career on Broadway in his later years is notable in that he appeared on stage in three different shows that featured actors who starred in the three great Universal horror classics, Dracula, Frankenstein, and the The Mummy. He appeared with Helen Chandler (Dracula) in 1927's Creoles; Zita Johann (The Mummy) in 1930's Troyka, and Boris Karloff (Frankenstein and The Mummy, in Arsenic and Old Lace.

Alice Harrington Parke died June 6, 1954 in Connecticut. Richard H. Parke retired from The New York Times as an editor, then stayed active as a reporter with a local paper in Connecticut. He died in 1989. George W. Parke passed away in 1969, leaving a wife and a daughter. What became of William Parke Jr. after 1930 is not known to this writer at present. Julia Peacock Parke was still residing in Camden as late as April of 1930. She had not remarried.

Of William Parke's films, all appear to be lost except for The Mystery of the Double Cross, a ten-part serial. Much more can be learned about William Parke, his films, life and times, and the people he interacted with, in the rest of this web-page. Much insight can be gained into his years as a stage director in theater from an article published in The American Magazine in November 1912, which you can read here, and from a newspaper article written a few years after his death which can be read here, and from the many newspaper articles presented below.


Click on Images to Enlarge

Philadelphia Inquirer
April 7, 1895


Philadelphia Inquirer
September 1, 1895


 

Philadelphia Inquirer
September 1, 1895

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Philadelphia Inquirer
March 1, 1896


Philadelphia Inquirer
August 30, 1896



Philadelphia Inquirer
August 30, 1896


Philadelphia Inquirer
June 10, 1898

This play, set in France, ran on Broadway for 56 night. William Parke worked with E.H. Sothern in this show, who had employed him as a stage manager in his production of Hamlet. Also in the cast was a young Cecilia Loftus. 

 

If I Were King

William Parke as Jehan Le Loup
October 14, 1901-December 1901

Baltimore Sun - January 12, 1903

Boston Herald
November 1, 1908

William Gillette
John Craig
Minette Cleveland
George Hassell
Donald Meek
Theodore Friebus
Thomas Carrign
Mabel Colcord
Gertrude Shirley
Mary Young

"Secret Service"

Springfield Daily News
Springfield, Massachusetts
September 14, 1912

Edith Luckett
Edward Donnelly
George Hassell
Wallace Worsley
"Her Husband's Wife"
"The Fortune Hunter"
Cohan & Harris

 
...continued...
 

Springfield Union - July 12, 1913
Springfield, Massachusetts

William Parke's film directorial debut, entitled Great Men Among Us. Little is known of this movie and it, like most of William Parke's works, is presumed lost.

1915

"A three-reel subject with pleasing juvenile interest, by Clinton H. Stagg. The Fairbanks Twins are featured. They and their schoolgirl chums go into the woods for a midnight picnic. The old professor follows, loses his glasses and gets into a deserted house where two burglars are making headquarters. The girls appear and the burglars are captured. The later scenes, on the wrecked train, contain more action and the close is satisfying. There is no effort at sensationalism, the pleasing results being obtained by a natural development of the story. The Twins are very attractive in this."

A Burglar's Picnic

Directed by William Parke
for Thanhouser Film Corporation
released January 26, 1916

Moving Picture World
February 5, 1916

"A three-reel mystery story, by Clinton H. Stagg, featuring Bert Delaney, Mignon Anderson, and others. The story is one that catches and holds the interest from the beginning. The appearance of a knotted cord means that the millionaire and the young detective are marked for death. The former is killed, but the detective outwits the gang after numerous adventures. This is well constructed and has several moments of melodrama, which is enjoyable in this type of story. The ending contains a surprise. Altogether this makes a successful offering."

The Knotted Cord

Directed by William Parke
for Thanhouser Film Corporation
released February 2, 1916

Moving Picture World
February 5, 1916

A three-reel story of delicate sentiment and true pathos by Virginia T. Hudson and Clinton H. Stagg. J.H. Gilmour appears as a soldier boy of '61 and later as a veteran attending the Grand Army reunion in Washington, D.C. Actual scenes from the parade are deftly woven into the story. The former nurse attends the reunion and sees her lover of war days in the parade. This plot has been used before, but is handled very effectively here. The letter incident is well pictured. This is full of genuine feeling and has good humorous touches running through it."

The Reunion

Directed by William Parke
for Thanhouser Film Corporation
released February 23, 1916

Moving Picture World
February 26, 1916

 

"A two reel subject written by Clinton H. Stagg, featuring J.H. Gilmour and Grace DeCarlton. This starts out with divorce proceedings in which the father is awarded custody of his little daughter. The girl grows up lonely and neglected, and at length runs off to a cabaret for a good time. Here she meets a party of young people. Her father casts her off and she marries one of the men, who becomes a drunkard. The transition scene is too sudden. The husband later reforms so that when the baby is about to be born there is a reconciliation with the father. The story is interesting, but not very convincing at times. This makes only a fairly strong offering."

The Whispered Word

Directed by William Parke
for Thanhouser Film Corporation
released February 23, 1916

Moving Picture World
March 25, 1916

"A two-reel number by Clinton H. Stagg, featuring Alice Lake, Wayne Arey, and others. This pictures the way a card sharp breaks into a house party and throws suspicion on the hero. The card game is well put on. Later the crook tries to get away with a valuable necklace and the hero turns tables on him. This is well constructed and holds the interest closely throughout."

The Fifth Ace

Directed by William Parke
for Thanhouser Film Corporation
released February 23, 1916

Moving Picture World
April 1, 1916

"Exposé of a band of notorious get-rich-quick schemers and their nefarious methods pursued in obtaining the confidences and frequently the savings of a gullible public has been made the basis for a stirring photodrama to be released shortly by the Mutual Film Corporation. In the preparation of the scenario the Thanhouser-Mutual studios were furnished with considerable data by federal agents and by several noted government sleuths who have been instrumental in breaking up a number of bands of notorious get-rich-quick plotters. This stirring production will be released through the Mutual as a Masterpicture, DeLuxe Edition, under the title of Other People's Money. The five acts of the piece are alive with action and replete with thrilling situations. Throughout runs an unusually pleasing love story, ending with the happy marriage of the young girl who brings about the exposé of the band and the young detective, with whom she worked. Gladys Hulette, the five-foot star of the Thanhouser-Mutual productions, is the featured player, supported by an extraordinary company of players, headed by Fraunie Fraunholz, a newcomer, but by no means an unknown player. Other People's Money will be released in five acts, May 29."

Other People's Money

Directed by William Parke
for Thanhouser Film Corporation
released June 1, 1916

Moving Picture World
June 3, 1916


"The Park Theatre in Boston, managed by Thomas D. Sorerio, had one of the biggest days in its history on Monday, September 25. Gladys Hulette, the Thanhouser star, appeared in person at three showings of her Pathé Gold Rooster play, The Shine Girl all week. Such a drawing card was Miss Hulette that the Park played to capacity all day and crowds were waiting to get in even for the 6 o'clock performance. When Miss Hulette arrived at the theatre for her afternoon appearance, after she was snapped by the newspaper photographers and the Pathé Weekly [newsreel] man, she was taken to her dressing room over the entrance to the theatre. Ten minutes later, when she tried to leave the room, the key jammed in the lock and she was unable to get out. (At least so said the Thanhouser press agent.) She had to appear on the stage at 3 o'clock. An extension ladder was run up to the window from which Miss Hulette was calling for aid. By this time the street was crowded with people from curb to curb. Miss Hulette obviously couldn't climb down three stories, above the heads of such a crowd in the gown she was going to wear on the stage. Somebody solved the problem by finding a pair of overalls. Miss Hulette donned the overalls, scrambled down the ladder and ran into the theatre, on time for her performance. In the evening Mr. Sorerio gave a banquet for Miss Hulette."

The Shine Girl

Directed by William Parke
for Thanhouser Film Corporation
released August 27, 1916

Unknown Boston newspaper
Late September, 1916




Evansville Evening Courier
Evansville, Indiana
September 2, 1916

Gladys Hulette
Panthus the Pup
Agnes C. Johnston


Elkhart Truth - September 14, 1916
Elkhart Indiana
Pete Ragolli

Elkhart Truth
Elkhart Indiana
September 14, 1916

Ethel Mary Oakland - Tula Belle
Gladys Hulette


Trenton Evening Times - October 21, 1916
Elkhart Indiana
Gladys Hulette - Mary Pickford - Agnes C. Johnston

""As a whole: entertaining; story: conventional; star: lacks vivacity; cast: adequate; settings: good; photography: clear.

"In this Thanhouser photoplay we are given some fine touches of comedy, good direction and excellent screen acting. Flora Finch is cast in the role of Aunty, while Riley Chamberlin contributes a goodly portion of the fun as Meeks. Miss Hulette, beautiful and pleasing as ever, did not seem to get all the comedy out of the part assigned to her. The supporting cast is well chosen. Prudence should prove to be a good attraction and is well up to the Thanhouser standard. Prudence, just out of boarding school, returns to her aunt's home where she is to enter society. She objects decidedly, and after several escapades, particularly directed against one Astorbilt, the season's 'catch,' she finds a warm friend finally in the person of the family butler. Meeks confides to Prudence that he has been a sailor and 'seen things.' When pressed further concerning his seafaring life he confides that he was once a pirate. He tells of his adventures and Prudence, her romantic nature fired, decides to becomes a buccaneer. A schooner is rented and christened The Bucket of Blood, a motley crew of tramps are put aboard, and all is in readiness for a voyage except a chaperon and a deck scrubber. Prudence attacks her aunt's houseboat and kidnaps the old lady and Astorbilt to fill those capacities. Astorbilt, however, bribes the crew to mutiny, and Prudence finds herself in irons on her own ship. The rough and tumble life aboard The Bucket of Blood changes Astorbilt from a pink tea person to a man of steel and Prudence falls in love with him. Fire breaks out on the ship and Astorbilt swims with Prudence to a bell buoy and saves her life. There Prudence, with her customary disregard for convention, promises to lower the black flag and surrender her heart forever. It is a clever comedy, indeed."

Prudence the Pirate

Directed by William Parke
for Thanhouser Film Corporation
released October 22, 1916

Exhibitor's Herald
October 21, 1916


Behind the Scenes Photo
from
Prudence the Pirate

The man in the hat MAY be William Parke


Gladys Hulette as Prudence the Pirate



 


Merchandising, 1916 style - Sheet music from a silent film. Go figure!


 

 The Mystery of the Double Cross is a 1917 film and one of the few American silent action film serials to survive in complete form. It was directed by Louis J. Gasnier and William Parke, from a story written by Gilson Willets, produced by the Astra Film Corporation and released in weekly chapters by Pathé, starting March 18, 1917. Starring Molly King, this 15-part, action-adventure serial was also released in France and Portugal. 

Chapter 1 can be seen here. Prints exist in the Library of Congress film archive (AFI/Blackhawk Films collection), and various incompete sets and individual episodes have been marketed on-line.

The Mystery of the Double Cross

Directed by William Parke
for Astra Film Corporation
released March 18, 1917





Houston Chronicle - April 8, 1917

...continued...


...continued...


Houston Chronicle - April 8, 1917

 

Houston Chronicle
June 12, 1917

 


 The Cigarette Girl paired Gladys Hulette with William Parke Jr., and also starred Warner Oland, the Swedish actor who went on to great fame as the original Charlie Chan in sixteen movies.

.

The Cigarette Girl

Directed by William Parke
for Astra Film Corporation
released March 18, 1917


Rockford Register
Rockford, Illinois
July 10, 1917

William Parke Jr.
Gladys Hulette

Another feature starring paired Gladys Hulette with William Parke Jr.

.

The Last of the Carnabys

Directed by William Parke
for Astra Film Corporation
released July 22, 1917

Gladys Hulette and William Parke Jr. are joined by a young actor named Richard Barthelmess, who soon would become one of the biggest stars if the silent era, and made a number of films after sound was introduced, most notably Only Angels Have Wings, with Cary Grant and Jean Arthur. Barthelmess' mother was the then-famous actress Alla Nazimova, who was a great friend of Edith Luckett, one of William Parke's leading ladies in his stage years in Massachusetts.

The Streets of Illusion

Directed by William Parke
for Astra Film Corporation
released August 12, 1917

Another Gladys Hulette and William Parke Jr. pairing. The two would announced their engagement a few months later.

Miss Nobody

Directed by William Parke
for Astra Film Corporation
released August 19, 1917


Charleston Evening Post
Charleston, south Carolina
September 28, 1917

Gladys Hulette
The Streets of Illusion
Pearl White

Another Gladys Hulette and William Parke Jr. pairing. The two would announced their engagement a few months later. The film was the eighth of eleven films William Parke made featuring veteran actor J.H. Gilmore, who made 51 movies between 1909 and 1921, Gilmour passed in November of 1922. 

A Crooked Romance

Directed by William Parke
for Astra Film Corporation
released September 30, 1917



Illinois State Register
November 12, 1917

Mae Marsh
Brooks Spencer
Gladys Hulette
William Parke Jr.


Greensboro Daily News
Greensboro, North Carolina
November 30, 1917

Gladys Hulette

A Crooked Romance
The Seven Pearls

The fourth film with Gladys Hulette, William Parke Jr., and J.H. Gilmore has them joined by actor and writer Chester Barnett and Dan Mason. Gilmore had also appeared in four shorts that Park had made with the Thanhouser Film Corporation in 1916.

Over the Hill

Directed by William Parke
for Astra Film Corporation
released December 30, 1917

Irene Castle, who with her husband Vernon were the most famous ballroom dancers of the early 20th century, starred in this film opposite Warner Oland. Vernon and Irene Castle appeared nine Broadway musicals from 1906 to 1913, then operated several clubs and dance studios in the New York City area, toured the country dancing, and were able to charge as much as a thousand dollars an hour for lessons. When the USA entered World War I Vernon joined the Army as a military flying instructor and was killed in an airplane accident on February 15, 1918. A movie, The Story of Vernon and Irene Castlke, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was made in 1939. 

Convict 993

Directed by William Parke
for Astra Film Corporation
released January 6, 1918


The last film William Parke made that was released by Astra, The Yellow Ticket was the movie version of A,H, Wood's play, which ran for six months on Broadway beginning in January of 1914. Oddly enough, in 1918, another version was being filmed in Germany, starring Pola Negri, This version was released in the United States in 1922 and is still in print.

Parke had a strong cast, including the notorious Fannie Ward, Warner Oland, and Milton Sills, a now forgotten leading man who starred in film versions of Adam's Rib, The Sea Wolf, and The Sea Hawk. His career was cut short at the dawn if the sound era when he died of a heart attack on September 15, 1930.

The Yellow Ticket

Directed by William Parke
for Astra Film Corporation
May 26, 1918.



Columbia State - June 20, 1918
Columbia, South Carolina

Salt Lake City Telegram
A
ugust 13, 1918

Gladys Hulette
William Parke Jr.
George Bernard Shaw
Arnold Daly
A.H. Woods
William A. Brady

The Last of the Carnabys

World War I Draft Card - September 12, 1918

Washington Evening Star - October 5, 1919
Washington, D.C.

Warburton Gamble - Pauline Frederick


Denver Post - November 12, 1919

Pauline Frederick


Portland Oregonian - November 12, 1919

 

Richmond Times-Dispatch Richmond, Virginia
December 29, 191
9

Wallace Worsely
Julia Taylor
Jack Pickford
Gertrude Atherton

The Tower of Ivory
The Little Shepard of Kingdom Come

The Key to Power was completed in 1918, but not released until January of 1920, in great part due to the Spanish Flu pandemic that killed millions worldwide in late 1918 and 1919. Although released by Educational Films Corporation of America this
film was most likely was an Astra Film Corporation production distributed through
Educational

Originally titled The Romance of Coal, it was the first major Hollywood-style movie to be shot on location in West Virginia. Although the film itself is lost, much can be learned about it and about William Parke from the article written in April of 2009 by Steve Fessenamier for the Charleston, West Virginia Gazette-Mail and a follow-up article from May 22, 2009.

The Key to Power
aka The Romance of Coal

Directed by William Parke
for Educational Films Corporation of America 

Released in January 1920



Claire Adams

In 1919 William Parke went to Hollywood, where he made a film with one of the biggest stars of the day, Pauline Frederick. Sadly of her sixty-seven films, only fifteen survive (8 silents and 7 talkies). Unfortunately, this is one of the lost films, but you can see still photos and read reviews here, or better yet, time permitting, read the book by Edgar Saltus.

The Paliser Case

Directed by William Parke
for Goldwyn Pictures Corporation
released February 15, 1920



The Robertson-Cole corporation became Film Booking Office of America (FBO) in 1922. FBO was controlled by Joseph P. Kennedy, the father or future president John F. Kennedy, and in turn became the far-better remembered RKO, when David Sarnoff, then president of RCA merged FBO and the Keith-Orpheum vaudeville circuit into RKO Pictures, which stood for Radio-Keith-Orpheum, in 1928. 

Robertson-Cole began producing movies in its own studios in 1920. Given the date of release, it is likely this was produced elsewhere.  

A Woman Who Understood

Directed by William Parke
for Robertson-Cole Pictures Corporation
released March 14, 1920

This movie was based on Gertrude Atherton's 1910 novel, Tower of Ivory, which you can read for free by clicking here.

Out of the Storm

Directed by William Parke
for Eminent Authors Pictures Inc.
distributed by Goldwyn Pictures Corpration Corporation
released March 14, 1920




Trenton Times-Advertiser
September 12, 1920

Barbara Castleton
John Bowers
Pauline Frederick
Sydney Ainsworth
Doris Pawn
Elinor Hancock
Lawson Butt
Edythe Chapman
Carrie Clarke Warde
Lincoln Stedman
Clarissa Selwynne
Gertrude Atherton

Beach of Dreams starred Noah Beery and Edith Storey, who, beginning in 1909 at the age of 17, had appeared in 178 films when this was made. She was an athletic brunette heroine with Vitagraph and Metro. She often appeared in westerns, period dramas and adventure films. At the height of the Spanish Influenza Epidemic, Edith Storey drove an ambulance for the National League for Women's Service in New York and worked as a night nurse in the overcrowded hospitals of the city. She made one more movie after Beach of Dreams, then retired from films in 1921, living out the remainder of her life in rural Long Island. Noah Beery was well known as was his brother Wallace Beery. He made over 200 movies, often in the role of a cruel villain. His son Noah Beery Jr. spent 64 of his 81 years in front of the camera, and is best remembered as James Garner's father in The Rockford Files television show.

Beach of Dreams

Directed by William Parke
for Haworth Studios
distributed by
Robertson-Cole Pictures Corporation
released May 8, 1921


Trenton Evening Times
July 22, 1922

Reginald Denny - Harold Lloyd
Gertrude Atherton
Eugene O'Brien - "John Smith"

This was a second run showing of Out of the Storm, which previously had been screened in Trenton in 1920.

 

 

Canton Repository
Canton, Ohio
November 18, 1922

"A Tailor Made Man"
Charles Ray
Joseph DeGrasse


Tampa Tribune - November 29, 1922


 

William Parke made three pictures for Carl Laemmle's Universal Studios in 1923. Universal reached film immortality several years later in the horror genre with Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Mummy, but the film Legally Dead proves that Laemmle had an eye for what could be call unconventional subjects in film. Milton Sills and Claire Adams, who had starred in Key To Power also appear in this film.

Legally Dead

Directed by William Parke
for Universal Pictures Corporationn
released July 30, 1923


Idaho Statesman
Boise Idaho
September 9, 1923


 


Rockford Register
September 25, 1923

Claire Adams and Herbert Rawlinson are the leads in this film. Also credited are Margaret Campbell and Herbert Fortier who had both worked in Legally Dead.

The Clean-Up

Directed by William Parke
for Universal Pictures Corporation
released September 24, 1923


Claire Adams and Herbert Rawlinson return in Parke's last Universal film. By this time it appeared that he had enough of California. He made one more feature, a serial, in 1924, then returned to New York and to the stage.

A Million to Burn

Directed by William Parke
for Universal Pictures Corporationn
released October 26, 1923



Omaha World-Herald
Omaha, Nebraska
November 19, 1923

Herbert Rawlinson

Idaho Statesman
Boise, Idaho
September 14, 1924

Gladys Hulette - William Parke Jr.

An action serial in ten-parts starring the great  Allene Ray, who did ALL of her own stunts, and Jack Mower, who in mostly un-credited roles appeared 607 different movies between 1914 and 1963, and produced several films in the 1920s. Ten Scars Make A Man was also released in Brazil as  Dez Cicatrizes Fazem um Homem, with Portuguese title cards.

Ten Scars Make A Man

Directed by William Parke
for Pathe' Exchange
released October 26, 1923


This play ran on Broadway for 16 performances. William Parke was one of the 20 actors cast as "Part of the Marriage Bureau". Also in that row was Una Merkel, one of the finest comediennes to appear in movies during the 1940s and 1950s. 

 

Two by Two

William Parke as Part of the Marriage License Bureau
February 23, 1925 - March 1925

Portland Oregonian
March 15, 1925

Gladys Hulette - William Parke Jr.

A three act play that ran for 28 performances on Broadway at the Klaw Theatre. This play was set in 1850 New Orleans. The star was Helen Chandler, who was quite successful on Broadway before going to Hollywood. She is best remembered for her role in the 1931 Universal film Dracula as Mina, the female lead opposite Bela Lugosi.

 

Creoles

William Parke as Part of the Monsieur Andre
September 22 - October 16, 1927

Variety
October 3, 1928

William Parke, Inc.
Grant Mitchell
George Hassell
George B. Seitz
Chester Bennett

A drama set in in the prison camp on the island of Sakhalin, Siberia was not exactly light entertainment. The show closed after 15 performances. A "Universal Coincidence"... the second of three in Parke's Broadway career, was the presence of Zita Johann, who played the female lead in 1932 Universal horror classic, The Mummy.  

 

Troyka

William Parke as the First Soldier
April 1, 1930 - April 1930


This show ran for only 3 nights, at the Biltmore Theatre. It was a W.P.A. production and had Sir Guy Standing in the title role.  

 

Jefferson Davis

William Parke as Leroy Walker
February 18, 1936 - February 1936

William Parke's final bow in show business was as Mr. Witherspoon in the original cast version of Arsenic and Old Lace massive hit that ran for three and one-half years on Broadway where it was performed 1,444 times. This was also the third "Universal Coincidence" as Boris Karloff, the monster in Frankenstein AND Imhotep in The Mummy, was a member of the cast, as was a young Bruce Gordon, who played Frank Nitti in the television show, The Untouchables. Other members of the original cast also worked in movies and television as well.

His last performance was on Saturday, July 27, 1941. William Parke died of a heart attack at his apartment the next day.

 

Arsenic and Old Lace

William Parke as Leroy Walker
January 10, 1941 - June 17, 1944

New York Times * July 29, 1941

Berkshire Evening Eagle
Springfield, Massachusetts
April 12, 1944

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The American - November 1912
There is quite a lot about WiIliam Parke's summer company in this article

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Many thanks to Q. David Bowers, whose work, which appears on the website www.thanhouser.org was invaluable in the creation of this web-page.

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